Posts Tagged ‘Heinz Edelmann’

Illustraton History part 1


Thursday, September 24, 2009

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I want to call attention to a couple recent essays by Norman Hathaway that I think are “must-reads” for illustration buffs.

First is an article, with images and video, about Doug Johnson, the Canadian illustrator, long based in NYC, who became famous in the 1970s for his exquisitely psychedelic and painterly airbrush technique. Includes are his covers for Judas Priest, Ike and Tina Turner, and a lot more.

And second is a fond remembrance of the great illustrator Peter Lloyd, who passed away last month. Lloyd is best known to comics fans as one of the designers of the film Tron, but he was a stellar image maker.

I’ve been fascinated with the coverage of Bernie Fuchs’ death, if only because it give him some much needed recognition while making room for the idea that he was ultimately eclipsed by the late 1960s and Push Pin. Together with the passing of Lloyd and Heinz Edelmann this summer I think there’s a lot to be said about different eras and styles of illustration. Each man represented the peak of a certain era and style, defining the look and feel of distinct segments of visual culture for a bunch of years. But more on that in a future post.

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Heinz Edelmann 1934-2009


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

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Heinz Edelmann, March 2006

I’m very sad to write that one of the truly great illustrators of the 20th century passed away today: Heinz Edelmann.

Most famous for his design of the Yellow Submarine characters and conception of a number of key scenes in the film, Heinz had a truly remarkable career as an image maker spanning the early 1960s until just a couple years ago. His talent lay in combining rigorous conceptual thinking with gestural mark making and a late modernist, playful sense of graphic design. He could draw in a delicate outline or a slashing brushstroke, but whatever it was was always adapted to the individual problem he was trying to solve. In this his guiding lights were Picasso and Steinberg, and his peers in late 20th century illustration include Milton Glaser and Tadanori Yokoo, though he surely would have dismissed such a comparison as overly generous. Amongst his achievements are an amazing series of posters he both drew and designed, hundreds of book cover designs, and scores of illustrations for the German edition of JRR Tolkien’s books. The latter series was excerpted in The Ganzfeld 7 and a sampling of the former can be seen here. He was also a very well regarded teacher at Stuttgart’s Academy of Fine Arts. One of his finest pupils, the illustrator/designer Christoph Niemann, wrote a great tribute for Graphis some years back.

Illustration for Twen, circa 1968

Newspaper illustration, circa early 1990s.

In 2006 I spent a couple of wonderful days in Amsterdam interviewing Heinz about his life and work. He was a true gentleman with a delightfully wry sense of humor and an honest humility. I had a great weekend with him and his wife Anna, as well as their daughter Valentine. They welcomed me so warmly and allowed almost a dozen hours of Heinz’s time. Heinz had a lot to say about his work, the medium in general, and the history of image making in the 20th century. Those conversations will see print one of these days, though now I of course wish it had been much sooner. He was never less than brilliant. I’ll miss knowing he was out there — a beacon of intelligence, morality and aesthetic quality. Rest in peace, Heinz.

Early 1970s ad for Tolkien books.

Moving Drawings


Monday, January 26, 2009

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A few odds and ends here. I’m sure I’m the last person to know this, but wow, Dark Horse is releasing the first volume of the Jesse Marsh Tarzan series now! His work has an incredible arc to it, from early drawings that look carved from stone to mid-period, more fluid pen lines, to his last scratchy, near-abstract images that Russ Manning claimed was due to his declining eyesight. He was a great artist, and the Tarzan work is among my favorite work of his. There’s a great Jesse Marsh web site here from which I stole the gorgeous image above. Marsh will be in the second Art Out of Time, which I should be working on instead of doing this.

Also, been thinking about Victor Moscoso lately for another project, and friend Norman pointed out an amazing series of animated shorts Moscoso made sometime in the late 60s or early 70s. What I love about these is how it takes him out of psychedelia and suddenly he seems wonderfully in line with drawers like Milton Glaser and Heinz Edelmann. He had the same transformative impulses and shared with Edelmann a pen line of such urgency and clarity that it’s impossible to look away. It’s a sharpness — a tiny bit of grumpiness. Moscoso was certainly the best colorist and overall designer of his S.F. (and perhaps North America in general) contemporaries, but people sometime forget about that wicked penline. The thing that stood out for me the most in the recent Crumb show in Philadelphia was, in fact, the original jam pages Moscoso worked on. Where everyone else looks like they’re carefully cartooning a gag, Moscoso’s marks come on like brush-fire — just decimating the very formidable competition. Just brutal and immediate and delineating modern-psych design forms. Anyhow, enjoy these little films. I don’t know much about them but maybe someone can fill us in in the comments.

EDIT: Someone just did.

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